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General News of Thursday, 18 October 2012

Source: The Finder

38 MPs thrown out by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has, in a unanimous decision, stated that the Electoral Commission (EC) cannot hold elections in electoral areas that were created by the Minister of Local Government between 2004 and 2007.

The ruling if not challenged, means that 38 constituencies created by the then Minister cannot be said to exist.

The court in its ruling stated that it was illegal for the Local Government Minister to have created electoral areas since the Minister does not have the constitutional mandate to do so.

The court will on October 24 rule on a similar case on the legality of 45 constituencies laid before Parliament by the current Minister of Local Government.

The seven-member panel, made up of William Atuguba, Prof. S.K. Date-Bah, Sofia Adinyira, Rose Owusu, Annin Yeboah, N.S. Gbedegbe and Vida Akuffo, stated that “the plaintiff's action succeeds and the various Legislative Instruments are thereby declared null and void.”

The ruling, which was read by Prof. Date-Bah, stated that the court would grant two of the reliefs sought by the applicant, Dr. Clement Apaak.

The plaintiff was seeking a declaration that the various Legislative Instrument laid in Parliament by the Minister of Local Government and which came into force after 21 parliamentary sitting days were made by the Minister in contravention of the Article 45 (b) of the Constitution, to the extent that those Legislative Instruments purported to create electoral areas for various districts, municipalities or metropolis in Ghana.

The court stated, however, that the order of perpetual injunction restraining the EC from conducting any national or local elections on the basis of the electoral areas until those electoral areas are properly constituted in accordance with law would be unreasonable and would therefore grant a fair relief.

The Supreme Court added that the EC in its defence considered that it was only the EC that had a constitutional mandate to create electoral areas and that some of the areas created by the Minister were already exciting in a Constitutional Instrument.

The court added that the constituencies created by the Local Government, which were also in the one EC created in CI 46, could hold.

Convenor of the Forum for Governance and Justice, Dr. Clement Apaak filed a suit at the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the 30 new constituencies created under the erstwhile Kufuor administration in 2004.

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